Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Problem Goes Deeper Than a Few Beauty Enhancements

I read with interest the many comments made about the untimely death of the bum surgery girl ( It did not surprise me that women were the most critical of her actions yet many women are guilty of the exact same thing she did albeit on a smaller scale. On Facebook and beyond, I see all sorts of different weaves and make-up that make a lot of women look unreal. I am not against weave-ons and make up so long as it is done properly and does enhance one’s natural beauty. However, many of the so-called enhancements women go through are no longer fit to be called enhancements, they should be called 'total change'. Change because when some women are stripped off the entire enhancement, one would hardly recognise them.

More and more cases of people who have cosmetic surgery mishaps are coming to our notice yet nothing is being done to change perceptions. Perhaps nothing can be done like the banking crisis that plunged the entire world into recession and nothing visible has been done to make sure it does not happen again. Perhaps this is the way the real world is, create a problem, see the havoc the problem is wreaking, show your disgust about it but curl back into the safety of your home and forget about it. However, for how long can we let these things go on?

A brief history of beauty especially in the West where most beauty ideas are exported to other parts of the world reveal that women have always been expected to look a certain way to make themselves desirable to men. In the Victorian times, a voluptuous woman would catch the attention of most men and to find husbands in those days you either had to be beautiful or come from a family of wealth. If you did not fall into either of these categories you are basically left a spinster or you end up marrying men who were considered the 'lowest' in society.

Besides getting married in those days, there was basically nothing else women could do with their lives. Absolutely nothing, which gives a little insight into why women pursued beauty as that was the only thing they could control to some extent. Women had no right to education so they can forget training to become a doctor or any other profession. Men were also in charge of the work places so getting a job or at least something decent was near impossible. Therefore, achieving the acceptable level of beauty and subsequently marrying a rich man became the main pre-occupation for women who were not fortunate enough...and there were many of them.

What does this show? That the idea of ideal beauty is by no means a modern phenomenon. What was not available then was the advanced technology we have now which helps women to 'see to' any part of their bodies that did not fit into this ideal. Most women wanted to be Barbie...tiny waist, big buxom, narrow nose and a pout. As time wore on, black women caught up with the fad what with the music videos that had women dancing in scanty outfits with atrociously big boobs and incredibly massive booties still managing to look trim. Freud blames women’s pursuit of beauty on their narcissistic nature but I disagree. I say it's what happens in a patriarchal world where many women’s chance of being noticed by a man is when she has managed to attain the acceptable and expected level of beauty. Even though more women are more educated than they did a century ago and now have access to work and a decent wage, much have not changed in terms of attaining ideal beauty primarily because most men would at first instance appreciate beauty before anything else. Why women need to gain the attention of men to feel validated is another issue entirely and I am not at liberty to tackle that in this note, as it will be a deviation from the subject matter

This is not another post by an angry Feminist who blames men for all of women's woes, far from it. This is a concerned woman who is trying to call people's attention to a much deeper problem than cosmetic surgery. This is a woman who foresees that more women and increasing men will turn to cosmetic procedures unless we tackle the issue of body image. Do not be surprised when I say men are increasingly turning to enhancement procedures and regimes too. Men now account for 9% of all cosmetic procedures carried out in the UK and it's a trend that is already apparent in the USA too. From 2000 to 2005, the number of men seeking cosmetic surgery increased 44% to 911,850, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgery (

Pick up a regular women magazine like Cosmopolitan and you will find a centerspread of the male torso in all its glory… ripped muscles, six packs and all the works. Feminists will say this is evidence that women are also capable of voyeurism and it's no longer the preserve of the men. Is it really? Truth is we're all capable of being a peeping tom. The only reason why women never used to exhibit this side of them was because when it came to sex or anything sexual, women were supposed to be coy. Don't look at a man too much because he might consider you 'loose'. Pretend as if sex is alien to you because men like a bit of mystic. So the Feminist response to this unfairness is to put more men out there in women magazines and let the women have a feast. What does this tit for tat situation lead to? More men will become insecure about their bodies and therefore chase the body ideal too.

However the situation is not so bad for men yet because men are still more regarded for their wallets and masculinity than for their looks. Many men will boast that a man need not be handsome and can get a way with some flab as long as their wallets was overflowing with cash. Being handsome is merely a plus, a rich and confident man can get any woman he wants and in fact many women will agree to this. However, how many times do we hear that a woman need not be beautiful, just have brains and you will be fine? Still very rare indeed. That's the reality we live in but this is not to say that ideal look pressure is not creeping up on men too. If we continue to take the advantage of the social power women now have to peddle ideas of what a 'real man' should look like, it is only going to lead to the same body image problem many women are battling with today. Skinny men will fatten up with protein supplements and then work themselves to death in the gym to get the muscled bodies more women are finding desirable while women who are still expected to have 'soft' lean bodies will resort to liposuction because using the gym will likely turn you to a Madonna look alike.

We need to change the entire way we see beauty and encourage people to be healthy whether they are fair or dark, short or tall, flat bum or protruding bum, big boobs or small boobs, 6 packs or even belly. No one is born perfect and no one could ever achieve ideal beauty because ideas about beauty will keep changing. Narcissistic attitude is mostly brought on by the balance of power in society, which drives us towards unrealistic pursuit of most things beauty and wealth inclusive. It is not our nature and we have the power to change things for the better.


Rita said...

Happy New Year :-)

I appreciate this post because it is not an attack on the lady and it has some element of truth...especially your words "That the idea of ideal beauty is by no means a modern phenomenon"

More often than not, these days, self-esteem is based on physical appearance and we are fortunate (or unfortunate?) to have advanced technology to help.

Loving ourselves for who we are and being appreciated despite our imperfections will go a long way in helping with the way we see ourselves.

Long time, how have you been?

Anonymous said...

She speaks.....

Well written (expounded).

Parakeet said...

@Rita...Happy new year dear and am fine. I've just not been inclined to write much lately.

I totally agree with you. Physical appearance no matter how perfect it seems would fade. People need something more solid to draw their self esteem from.

@Rethots...thanks. How are you keeping?

Funms-the rebirth said...

made my comment on fb already....
great article and i hope we stop letting the media dictate to us the idea if perfect beauty

Tales of a Girl in Search of True ♥! said...

True talk....watched a program on TV yesterday and brides to be were competing for surgery before walking down the aisle...same like America Next Top Model but the reward is a surgery!

The bum implant girl was my friend and I honestly dunno wot put that ish in her head!

doll said...

You were gone for a while.

Interesting perspective